Starting freshman year, students are allowed to have cars. The best combo for an on-campus UNCW student to have is a car for any off-campus ventures and a bike for on-campus transport. It's not vital for a student to have a car, though, until he or she actually needs it, sometimes not until junior or senior year when an internship or job is obtained. Any car or transportation situation can work, and obviously some of this information would not apply to off-campus students.
By purchasing a parking permit, residential students can park on campus fall, spring, and summer, and there is plenty of parking right beside each residence hall. It's nice that you don't have to take a bus, walk a mile, and then find your car in a visitor's lot; it's all very convenient. Parking passes run about $300 for fall, spring, and summer. Commuter, off-campus students who drive to campus have specific lots designated for them, and the pass prices vary. Students who live on campus and have a car can drive anywhere and park on campus, say the library or near the student center, any time after 4 p.m.—the school just doesn't want students that live on campus to drive to class during the busy mid-day hours. Parking does get tighter during the after-4 p.m., free-range times, so that's where the bike or longboard/skateboard comes in handy.